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temperate life, and was at little unnecessary expence befides buying of books. Though he was of the victorious party, yet he was far from fharing in the spoils of his country. On the contrary, he sustained great loffes during the civil war, and was not at all favoured in the impofition of taxes, but fometimes paid beyond his due proportion. Upon a turn of affairs he was not only deprived of his place, but also lost 2005 1. which he had for fecurity and improvement put into the excife-office. He loft likewise another confiderable fum for want of proper care and management, as perfons of Milton's genius are feldom expert in moneymatters. In the fire of London his houfe in Breadftreet was burnt, before which accident foreigners have gone out of devotion (fays Wood,) to fee the house and chamber where he was born. His gains were inconfiderable in proportion to his loffes; for, excepting the thousand pounds which were given him by the government for writing his Defence of the People againft Salmafius, we may conclude that he got very little by the copies of his Works, when it doth not appear that he received any more than 10 1. for Paradife Loft. Some time before he died, he fold the greateft part of his library, as his heirs were not qualified to make a proper ufe of it, and as he thought that he could difpofe of it to greater advantage than they could after his decease. Finally, by one means or other, he died worth 1500 1. befides his householdgoods, which was no incompetent fubfiftence for him, who was as great a philofopher as a poet *.

To this account of Milton it may be proper to add fomething concerning his family. We faid before, that he had a young brother and a fifter. His brother Christopher Milton was a man of totally oppofite prin

Whoever confiders (fays Mr. Fenton,) the pofts to which Milton was advanced, and the times in which he enjoyed them, will, I believe, confefs he might have accumulated a much more plentiful fortune: In a dispassionate mind it will not require any extraordinary measure of candour to conclude, that though he abode in the beritage of oppreffors, and the fpoils of his country lay at his feet, neither his confcience, nor his honour, could stoop to gather them.


ciples; was a ftrong royalift, and after the civil war made his compofition through his brother's intereft; had been entered young a student in the Inner Tem. ple, of which house he lived to be an ancient bencher; and, being a professed Papist, was in the reign of K. James II. made a judge and knighted, but foon obtained his quietus by reason of his age and infirmities, and retired to Ipfwich, where he lived all the latter part of his life. His fifter Anne Milton had a confiderable fortune given her by her father in marriage with Mr. Edward Philips, (fon of Mr. Edward Philips of Shrewsbury,) who, coming young to London, was bred up in the crown-office in chancery, and at length became fecondary of the office under Mr. Bembo. By him fhe had, befides other children who had died infants, two fons, Edward and John, whom we have had frequent occafion to mention before. She had likewife two daughters, Mary, who died very young, and Anne, who was living in 1694, by a fecond husband Mr. Thomas Agar, who fucceeded Mr. Philips in his place in the crown-office, which he enjoyed many years, and left to Mr. Thomas Milton, fon of Sir Christopher before mentioned. As for Milton himself, he appears to have been no enemy to the fair fex by having had three wives. What fortune he had with any of them is no where faid; but they were gentlemens daughters; and it is remarkable that he married them all maidens; for (as he fays himself,) he


thought with them, who both in prudence and ele66 gance of fpirit would chufe a virgin of mean for"tunes, honeftly bred, before the wealthieft widow." But yet he feemeth not to have been very happy in any of his marriages; for his first wife had justly offended him by her long abfence and feparation from him; the fecond, whofe love, fweetness, and goodnefs he commends, lived not a twelvemonth with him; and his third wife is faid to have been a woman of a moft violent fpirit, and a hard mother-in-law to his children. She died very old, above thirty years ago, [i. e. about the year 1729,] at Nantwich in Cheshire. From the accounts of those who had feen her, I have learned,

learned, that the confirmed several things which have been related before, particularly that her husband used to compofe his poetry chiefly in winter, and on his waking in a morning would make her write down fometimes twenty or thirty verses. Being asked whether he did not often read Homer and Virgil the understood it as an imputation upon him for ftealing from thofe authors, and answered with eagernefs, that he ftole from no body but the Mufe who infpired him; and being asked by a lady present, who the Mufe was? replied it was God's Grace, and the Holy Spirit that' vifited him nightly. She was likewise asked whom he approved most of our English poets? and answered, Spenfer, Shakespear, and Cowley. Being afked, what he thought of Dryden fhe faid Dryden used fometimes to vifit him, but he thought him no poet, but a good rhymift: but this was before Dryden had compofed his best poems, which made his name fo famous afterwards. She was wont moreover to fay, that her hufband was applied to by meffage from the King, and invited to write for the court; but his answer was, that fuch a behaviour would be very inconfiftent with his former conduct, for he had never yet employed his pen against his confcience. By his first wife he had three daughters, who furvived him. They were not fent to school, but were inftructed by a mistress kept at home for that purpose: and he himself, excufing the eldest on account of an impediment in her speech, taught the two others to read and pronounce Greek and Latin, and several other languages, without understanding any but English; for he ufed to fay that one tongue was enough for a woman. But this employment was very irksome to them; and this, together with the sharpness and severity of their motherin-law, made them very uneafy at home: and therefore they were all fent abroad to learn things more proper for them, and particularly embroidery in gold and filver. As Milton at his death left his affairs very much in the power of his widow, though the acknowledged that he died worth 1500 l. yet the allowed but 100l. to each of his three daughters. Anne the eldest


was decrepit and deformed, but had a very handsome face: She married a master-builder, and died in childbed of her first child, who died with her. Mary the fecond lived and died fingle. Deborah the youngest, in her father's life-time, went over to Ireland with a lady, and afterwards was married to Mr. Abraham Clarke, a weaver in Spittlefields, and died in Auguft 1727, in the 76th year of her age. She is faid to have been a woman of good understanding and genteel behaviour, though in low circumftances. As fhe had been often called upon to read Homer and Ovid's Metamorphofes to her father, the could have repeated a confiderable number of verfes from the beginning of both thofe poets; and she has been heard to repeat feveral verfes likewise out of Euripides. Mr. Addifon, and other gentlemen, who had opportunities of feeing her, knew her immediately to be Milton's daughter by the fimilitude of her countenance to her father's picture. Mr. Addison made her a handfome prefent of a purfe of guineas, with a promife of procuring for her fome annual provision for her life: but, his death happening foon after, the loft the benefit of his generous defign. She received prefents likewife from feveral other gentlemen, and Q. Caroline fent her 501. by the hands of Dr. Freind the phyfician. She had ten children, feven fons, and three daughters; but none of them had any children, except her fon Caleb, and her daughter Elizabeth. Caleb went to Fort St. George in the Eaft-Indies, where he married and had two fons, Abraham and Ifaac; the elder of whom came to England with the late Gov. Harrison, but returned upon advice of his father's death; and whether he or his brother be now living is uncertain. E lizabeth, the youngest child of Mrs. Clarke, was married to Mr. Thomas Fofter a weaver in Spittlefields, and had feven children, who are all dead; and the herfelf is aged about fixty, and weak and infirın. She feemeth to be a good plain fenfible woman, and has confirmed feveral particulars related above, and informed me of fome others, which fhe had often heard from her mother: That her grandfather loft 20co 1.


by a money-fcrivener, whom he had intrufted with that fum, and likewife an estate at Westminster of 60 l. a year, which belonged to the Dean and Chap ter, and was restored to them at the Refloration: That he was very temperate in his eating and drinking; but what he had he always loved to have of the belt: That he feldom went abroad in the latter part of his life, but was vifited even then by perfons of diftinction, both foreigners and others: That he kept his daughters at a great diftance, and would not allow them to learn to write, which he thought unneceffary for a woman: That her mother was his greatest favourite, and could read in feven or eight languages, though the underftood none but English: That her mo ther inherited his headachs and disorders, and had fuch a weakness in her eyes, that she was forced to make ufe of fpectacles from the age of eighteen: and the herfelf, the fays, has not been able to read a chapter in the Bible thefe twenty years; That fhe was mistaken in informing Mr. Birch *, what he had printed upon her authority, that Milton's father was born in France; and a brother of hers who was then living was very angry with her for it, and like a true-born English man refented it highly, that the family fhould be thought to bear any relation to France: That Milton's fecond wife did not die in child-bed, as Mr. Philips and Toland relate, but above three months after of a confumption; and this too Mr. Birch relates upon her authority: but in this particular fhe must be mistaken as well as in the other; for our author's fonnet on his deceased wife plainly implies, that fhe did die in child

* Accounts of Milton's life have been wrote by feven different perfons, viz. by Antony Wood in his Fafti Oxonienfes; by Mr. Edward Philips before the English tranflation of Milton's State-letters, printed in 1694; by Mr. Toland before the edition of Milton's Profe Works in three volumes folio, printed in 1698; by M. Bayle in his Hiftorical and Critical Dictionary; by Mr. Fenton before the edi tion of Milton's Poetical Works printed in 1715; by Mr. Richardfon in the Preface to his explanatory notes and remarks upon Pa radife Loft; and by Mr. Thomas Birch in the General Dictionary, and more largely before the edition of Milton's Profe Works in two volumes folio, printed in 1738.



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